Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Operation OrGaNiZaTiOn! The Linen Closets

I'm happy to get back on track today with

O r G a N i Z a T i O n

If you are new here with Operation OrGaNiZaTiOn, you can check out where we've been so far this year.  You can click on any one of the topics below to see the post.

The basics....getting ourselves organized and ready to start
Part 1 - Focused on creating a family binder and some routines for ourselves
Part 2 - Focused specifically on our cleaning schedule and where to start and some great green cleaners
Part 3 - Focused on the "rules of organizing" and how to de-clutter

Organizing...tackling areas of our home

I know we haven't gotten too far, but I want to get us back on track.    I am so happy to have an organized kitchen and we've been really good as a family about keeping it that way.  We definitely slip up here and there, but everything has a place now and we are keeping it clutter free as much as possible.

The next area I tackled was my hall linen closet.  It was SO out of control.    When we bought this house 6 years ago, I was so thrilled with all of the closet space we were going to have.  I still am, don't get me wrong, gives me more room to make a mess.  We are lucky enough to have a huge front closet where we store our coats and a hall closet for our linens.  We also have 2 smaller linen closets in 2 of our bathrooms.  I have managed to let ALL of them get out of hand.

I tackled the hall linen closet first because it's inevitable that the doors to this get left open every day and it was starting to drive me nuts looking at the mess it had become.  

Here it is BEFORE

This linen closet is right outside my bedroom door so I pass it 1,000 times a day and it was making me crazy! This closet holds all of our sheets, extra bedding, old bedding that I just can't part with, beach towels, some decorative items that I interchange seasonally, extra toilet paper and paper towels, my extra sewing items and all of my Christmas wrapping paper and supplies!  It really serves many purposes.

I use our closets in our bathrooms for our bath towels and as I mentioned, I have not yet tackled those, but they seem to stay pretty tidy because there's no too much in them.  The problem with the closet I am focusing on here is that I was trying to have it serve far too many purposes and therefore it actually became a place to just shove everything that didn't have a home.

I was breaking my own rule, "A place for everything, and everything in its place".  So, that being said, the first order of business was to take everything out of the closet and start deciding which items "belonged" here and which needed a new home.

I decided to keep all of my extra bedding, our sheets, and our beach towels on the left side.   I also decided I wanted things well labeled and in clear containers so that I could see what I had.   I have made a habit of keeping the clear bags that come with all bedding and/or sheets as well as those that come back from the dry cleaners when I clean our bedding that cannot be machine washed.  They are invaluable and save me the hassle and money of buying them.

Here is my AFTER for the left side

Top shelf - old crib bedding and bedding from my daughter's past room.  Not sure why I keep it, but I just can't part with any of it.

Second shelf - I found this huge zippered storage bag at Walmart super cheap and it's perfect to store our blankets during the off-season.

Third Shelf - I found these containers at JoAnn Fabrics dirt cheap.  I shopped after the January organization push was on and found everything on sale.  I made some super cheap and easy labels on the computer to keep our sheets separated by which room they belong in.  For me..this works.  If you prefer to put them all together, so be it.  I happen to find it easier to have them separated by room because it's quicker for me when I'm making beds AND...then no one in my house can claim they can't find the sheets for a specific bed (ha ha...I've got them!)

Bottom shelf- This shelf holds all of our beach towels and apparently we have far too many.  This issue is great during the summer months because it helps with the laundry, however, storing them is a bit of an issue since they overflow past this bin.  Oh well!

Now here is what I look at when someone leaves the closet open....much better!

Here is the AFTER on the right side

Top shelf - All of our down comforters that we never use since my son is allergic to the feathers. Before he was born, we all had down comforters and feather beds.  Not sure why I keep them...hopeful I suppose!

3rd shelf - On this shelf I have our seat cushions for our kitchen that I take on and off....sometimes I like them and sometimes I don't.  I'm fickle like that.    I also have all of our tablecloths and table runners.

Bottom shelf- Some decorative items that I really don't have anywhere to store.  

And on the very bottom our extra toilet paper and paper towels.  We buy in bulk and store most in our basement, but this saves me the trip!   I also have my stash of extra clear plastic containers that I mentioned earlier from the dry cleaners, etc.

The final product.  So much better!

This works for me.  I always find it helpful to see what others do and steal ideas to maximize my space, but I need to have it work for my own needs and those in my home or it will never last. 

Here are some of my inspiration photos...

I love the use of labels on the shelves in this one.  Unfortunately I have wire shelving.     Also, the towel bar on the inside of the door is a great use of space.

Again, I love the use of the door space on this one.    And...the all white is so crisp and clean.

This one uses all sorts of organizing tools to maximize space...very creative.  I don't know how I feel about rolling the towels.  Does it really save that much space?  I'd love your opinion if you do it.  I've always wondered.

This is one is just pretty :)   If you follow the link it will explain to you also that the sheets on the top shelf are stored by set (which I already do...not sure how else you would store???) and the smart part....the pillowcases are wrapped around the set to keep it together.  So smart!

Love the baskets...

This one just amazes me at how neat the folding is.  I'm just not there and so therefore bins allow me to hide my folding!

And, these bins just hide!

The built in divider in this closet make it easier to compartmentalize your like items.

One last picture of a great tip I found.  Store your top and fitted sheets of a set inside the pillowcase for the same set.  Look how neat this looks.  Genius!

Happy Organizing!

Poshed Up

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Where does the time go?

First, I apologize for the week-long blogging break.  Second, I apologize for the length of this post, but I want this to be one I can go back to and re-visit.

This week was a BIG week here at our house.   As I sit here typing this my eyes well up just thinking about it.   This week we registered our little guy for Kindergarten.
Sniff. Sniff.

Where did the time go?

This little guy of mine came into my life 5 years ago and I honestly can say I was not thrilled about having a boy after a little girl.  Don't get me wrong....every child is a gift, but no one to dress up, no one to play tea party with, no one to go shopping with?  My little girl was at the time, 5 years old herself and soon off to Kindergarten and I was going to miss all of those things.  Boy was I wrong.

Don't I look  This was the day before I was induced!   They thought he was going to be close to 9 lbs. based on how I was carrying.  Boy were they wrong.

My 6 lb. 12 oz. angel was born the following morning!

He was so sweet from the moment he entered this world and has been that way ever since.  Not a day goes by where he doesn't tell each of us how much he loves us and why he loves us.
He was so teeny...

His 1st year was a VERY rough one to put it lightly.   He had severe reflux and a terrible skin rash that landed him in the hospital for 2 days with a staph infection on his face at only 13 weeks old.   He was poked and prodded from every angle from some of the best doctors at Children's Hospital in Philly until finally our angel doctor diagnosed him with a milk protein allergy.

Here he is at Halloween (1 month old) and his skin had just started to show signs.  His reflux was already OUT OF CONTROL.

By 2 months, he was really getting worse and his color was off, but it was diagnosed as baby acne.

By Christmas, he was a very unhappy baby at times with a belly ache and itching.  (If you look closely you can see the left side of his cheek is starting to get very red).

And by January, he was VERY, VERY sick and landed us in the hospital.   I was scared to death and my poor little baby was so sick without any idea of what it was.   Until we went to CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philly).

I know this picture is disturbing and it happens to be only one I have between January and April of him because I didn't want to revisit this time of his life or ever show him.   But...if you know someone with a sick baby, this may shed some light.  We got looks and stares and "Oh my god"'s from people constantly.

By 6 months, we began to see huge improvements but he had lost precious time and missed important developmental milestones due to his requirements to sit upright in his bouncy seat for 30 mins after every bottle (and remember the little ones eat every 4 hrs) and he had to have socks over his hands so he couldn't scratch his fragile and now healing skin.

Here is one where he actually got to "have" his fingers for awhile.  He had started to grow hair now that his rash had cleared and believe it or not, this was his healing skin.  And, that smile was so great to see.  He hasn't stopped since!

By his 1st birthday, our little guy was totally healed and starting to gain weight and starting to crawl.  Yes, he didn't crawl until almost a year because the poor thing was stuck in a chair after eating.  He had started some solids, but was really on restrictions until everything was tested first.

Here he is at his 1st birthday.  What a happy, happy day!

While most one year olds are well into different foods and eating more like a little kid than a baby, we were testing EVERYTHING via blood tests before trying and figured out his main allergies at the time were milk, egg and soy.   But, he was healthy!

As the years passed, this little boy really came into his own and started developing the funny little personality I love so much about him.  He finds joy in EVERYTHING.

And he was into EVERYTHING.  
Trouble became his middle name as he gained the ability to get into trouble.

He loved to play and dress up.

By his 2nd birthday, he was a full blown toddler and still causing tons of trouble, but happy as can be.

As he got older, he started to express his unique sense of style.

He started to travel outside of his safe little world...

He started to ride a bike...hooray!

And we discovered that his food allergies were NOT going to get the best of us.

And that smile...oh how I loved that smile.

Here he is at his 3rd was going WAY TOO FAST!

That was his 1st chocolate cupcake.   It was free of all of his allergens and he LOVED it!

And we had vanilla that day too. 

And he LOVED that one too!

By 3 years old, he had deteremined, he LOVED dress up.  

In anything, even if his sister did it to

And because of his extreme drooling and speech delays, he started school.   


He went on his 1st class trip!

And of course, his unique sense of style continued.

As Spring approached, he started to become more of a little boy and less of a baby.

By summer, a full fledge little boy.  It was all changing so fast!  He was becoming 
Mr. Independent.

And Mr. Personality...

He smiled and found delight in everything and I love that about him.

He turned FOUR!  How could it be? He was just a teeny little baby.

By the time he reached 4 years old, he was no longer my baby and now was someone's friend.  He had himself a group of friends from preschool and talked about them all the time.
He even had a little girl he became smitten with.  

But in my eyes, he was still my little guy with the big infectious smile.

He was still very happy and still LOVED cupcakes and parties.

His 4th year flew by for me.  Here's a few snapshots of the year.

He played soccer for the first time.

He drove a boat.

And he met his first true love (besides his momma of course)

And he was smitten!

For his 5th birthday we celebrated his love of dress up and all things superhero with a Super Hero Party with his favorite little buddies!


We also switched schools and started going only half day to PreK.  This left us time to do things we never got to jump in puddles in our PJs.

And we made new friends at our new school.  We even held hands on our class trips. LOL little boy grew up just like that.
Don't get me wrong, he still loved the same things...

Dressing up...

Being super silly...

 And smiling....oh that smile!

This little guy was born and instantly stole my heart like no boy had ever done before.  And....with each passing day, he holds it a little tighter.  And I think it's safe to say....he feels the same way about me.   Oh....and as for tea parties, dress up and shopping.....three of his favorite things to do.

As we walked into the school to register this past week hand in hand, his hand trembled.  We both looked at one another with a big smile on our faces and we registered for the next chapter in his life.    I was smiling on the outside, but crying just a little on the inside.  Oh how I'll miss my little buddy!

What I admire most about this little boy is how he can appreciate what he has and NEVER complains about what he can't have.  With such limitations in his food choices, one would think it would be hard to go to parties and see his friends enjoying so many things he cannot have, but he never complains.  During that first year of his life I asked so many times, "why?".   Five short year later I am so thankful for the little boy that God blessed us with and now I understand more than ever why!

Poshed Up